Did the University of Missouri really invent Homecoming? Back in 1911, when Chester Brewer, Mizzou’s football coach and athletic director, invited alumni to come home for the Missouri-Kansas football game, he couldn’t have envisioned the event would become Mizzou’s biggest annual tradition. No matter who started this great tradition, we just had to be a part of it!
If Mizzou was not the 1st to have a coming home of alumni for a big game, then they are certainly one of the best at this event! It could all be in the name. One of the oldest U.S. football rivalries, Harvard-Yale, dates to 1875. Students, alumni and fans from both Ivy League schools gather annually for “The Game”. They did not refer to it as “homecoming” until 1947.
Brewer was quoted: “As I remember, Missouri was the first school to sponsor the idea of an annual reunion on the day of some important football game, and Missouri unconsciously developed the idea way back in 1911″. Thus the name “Homecoming” was used by Mizzou 1st and has been used by every school since then. Recognition from Jeopardy! and Trivial Pursuit is often used as supporting evidence by Mizzou fans that they are, in fact, the creators of “Homecoming”.
Any way you slice it, it’s a great tradition! And it’s not only about the game. Mizzou holds a week long schedule of events leading up to the big game. Fund raisers and blood drives are part of the focus of Homecoming Week too! The windows of store fronts throughout town are decorated for the homecoming festivities which adds to the feeling of celebration.
One of festive traditions is for the fraternities and sororities on campus to decorate the Greek houses according to a specific theme. This years theme was “A Tail of Tradition” (Truman is the tiger mascot named for Harry S Truman and it’s his “tail”)
Some of the fraternities and sororities go all out with elaborate skits with lighting and sound crews on top of the buildings. The skits are played out for all alumni, students, family and friends to enjoy! And we did! 🙂
Game day kicks off with a parade that winds all through downtown Columbia and across the campus.
What would a football game be without a tailgate party? How about a tailgate party on every corner of the campus leading to the stadium! Mizzou holds their tailgates on the grass areas on the path to the stadium. Unlike the tailgates of my college years at San Diego State University where we all gathered in the parking lot of the stadium. Our campus was too far away from the “San Diego Chargers Stadium” that we played in for this kind of tailgating. I really like this small town college stuff!
Of course you have to have pre-game games and it’s so much better on the lawn! Corn Hole Toss and drinking games! Wearing the school colors of gold and black and the tiger on your face is essential! Traditions of fun!
Did I mention drinking games?
And then the big game starts. Everyone is pumped up for their team. There was touch down drama and cheers. I even wore my tiger ears! But alas, this was not Mizzou’s day to win for Homecoming. But it was a week of traditions, history and a great amount of fun shared by all! In the end, that’s what’s most important!